Proline is a non-essential amino acid and Sahu et al. show that some cancer cells are dependent on proline for clonogenicity and tumorigenic potential. These authors profiled a panel of cancer cell lines and found that proline consumption and the expression of enzymes involved in proline biosynthesis correlated with clonogenicity and tumorigenic potential. Those cancer cell lines with a dependency on proline had hyperactivation of the mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1)–4EBP1 pathway and endoplasmic reticulum stress. These data indicate that targeting proline biosynthesis and uptake may be effective in some types of cancer.
Sahu, N. et al. Proline starvation induces unresolved ER stress and hinders mTORC1-dependent tumorigenesis. Cell Metab. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2016.08.008 (2016)
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Alderton, G. Targeting proline metabolism?. Nat Rev Cancer 16, 678 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrc.2016.119